Mamata Banerjee says no to new Motor Vehicles Act, sets tone for fresh tussle with Centre

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Published: September 11, 2019 7:46:46 PM

Passed by Parliament in July this year, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act came into effect on September 1, 2019.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (ANI Image)West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (ANI Image)

With West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee saying no to implementing the amended Motor Vehicles Act, a fresh duel between the Bengal government and the Centre seems to be brewing. Mamata Banerjee said she can’t give a go-ahead to the new law, which has provisions for hefty fines, as it will overburden the ‘aam aadmi’.

“I can’t implement this Motor Vehicle Act right now because our government officials are of the opinion that if we implement it will overburden people,” news agency ANI quoted Mamata Banerjee, as saying.

Several states such as Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Puducherry and Telangana have not implemented the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act so far. BJP-ruled Gujarat has already gone ahead and announced up to 90 per cent relief in the penalties imposed through amended provisions.

Earlier in the day, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has said that the implementation of the newly amended law was in the concurrent list and the states were free to make their own decision. The Union Minister, however, reiterated that the intent of huge penalty was not to create additional revenue for the government but to prevent accidents and save lives by acting as a deterrent.

“This isn’t a revenue income scheme, are you not worried about the deaths of 1,50,000 people? If the state governments want to reduce this, is it not true that people neither recognise law nor have fear of it,” Gadkari told ANI.

In the national capital, the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government has announced of providing respite to people from hiked penalties and added that a conscious decision will be taken on it.

Passed by Parliament in July this year, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act came into effect on September 1, 2019. Under the new law, a person held for riding a two-wheeler without helmet needs to pay a fine of Rs 1,000, while a fine of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 will be slapped for using a mobile phone while driving. Drunken driving will attract a hefty fine of Rs 10,000 under the amended act.

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